When it comes to microwaves, there are a plethora of options and build styles to choose from, each catering to the needs of a specific group of people in the market. In this article, we?ll take a look at five of the best small microwave ovens. These compact microwaves handle your cooking tasks whilst helping you save money and countertop space.
As a team, we spent a great deal of time scrutinizing and praising the small microwave ovens we selected. In the lines below, we shared our thoughts and observations.
Here’s our in-depth review of the selected microwave ovens.
Our pick for the overall best small microwave is the compact sized Toshiba EM925 microwave. This unit measures 19.2? x 15.9? x 11.5? and is very lightweight and portable. Additionally, the glass turntable inside the unit has a diameter which measures 10.6?. It comes available in two different variants; a stainless steel variant and a black stainless variant. For our review, we tested the black stainless variant.
The unit is rated 900W – just the right amount of energy required for daily cooking tasks. There are 10 power settings to choose from and each power level is suitable for cooking a variety of food.
You?ll find the controls on the unit easy to use, no doubt. The control panel sports an interior LED light which illuminates it appropriately. You?ll find quick touch presets and one-touch buttons which are properly labeled.
Toshiba equipped the unit with one-touch start button for doing six pre-programmed cooking activities. They include pizza, popcorn, frozen vegetable, beverage, dinner plate, as well as potato.
All of them work just fine, giving you a value for your money which is a little shy of a hundred bucks.
Other available features include a power saving mode, child safety lock, and an option to mute beep notifications. However, you?d have to turn off the beeps each time you turn on the unit. This is because the unit resets to factory settings whenever the power is turned off.
The Toshiba EM925 microwave sports a couple of vents on the top left corner. This is handy for homeowners who intend to use it on their cabinet, that’s if there’s limited space on the countertop.
Immediately you turn on the unit, it makes an audible sound although it quietens down in a matter of seconds. Care must be taken to ensure that if the unit is kept on a cabinet, there would be enough space on all sides.
Honestly, Toshiba deserves a round of applause for building this unit. Did we even mention how cool the timer on the unit is? It helped us keep an eye on our food while we did something else. The Toshiba EM925 microwave will make you smile when you finally get one for yourself ? honestly, you’ll smile.
This review of the best small microwave ovens won?t be complete without the mention of the Westinghouse Microwave oven. It?s undeniably one of the most popular given its relatively low price. There aren?t a ton of things you can do with it, however, it can easily handle some of your basic cooking needs.
At a quick glance, you?ll clearly notice a distinction between it and other brands. It sports two turn knobs in place of a digital control panel seen on other brands.
If your last microwave was fitted with a digital control panel, you?ll probably find it less easy to use in the first day of use. However, by the third day, you would have become familiar with it.
Like the over best small microwave oven we reviewed above, the Westinghouse microwave is available in two colors ? black and white. Furthermore, it comes in two variants with different capacities ? one has 0.6 cubic ft. and the other 0.9 cubic ft.
The turntable on the 0.6 cubic ft model has a diameter of 9.5?. Our test model was the black 0.6 cubic ft. variant.
Opening the microwave?s door is something anyone can do, however, it slightly moves the unit. If your countertop surface is as smooth as ours, you?ll be dealing with a lot of pushing back.
To solve this minor issue, we placed a secure shelf liner under our test unit. Problem solved!
The interior lights on the unit only remain turned on when the unit is in use. As soon as you?re done, it goes off, the time you still have left on your timer notwithstanding.
Closing the door while the timer is still active will make the unit resume running. To stop this, simply turn off the unit and turn it back on.
The Westinghouse Microwave Oven is certainly the right choice for people with less cooking needs and a smaller budget.f
Best Stainless Steel
We’re going a notch higher in our review. This time, we’re reviewing one of the best premium compact microwaves in the market.
It’s the Toshiba EM131A microwave which packs a punch under its hood and is suitable for anyone looking for a high-end compact microwave. We got the stainless steel version for our review. Here’s our review.
The Toshiba EM131A microwave comes in two color variants; stainless steel and black stainless steel.
Our white kitchen clearly welcomed the stainless steel model with open arms as it blended in with the environment. The unit measures 20.5 x 17.1 x 12.8 and is equipped with a 12.4 turntable.
Its internal space is pegged at 1.2 cubic feet, the highest we have seen so far amongst compact microwaves. In addition, it comes with a preprogrammed sensor menu which comes in handy when you’re cooking/warming quick foods such as veggies, potatoes, and pizza.
The Toshiba EM131A microwave uses 1100W of power to cook food in a matter of minutes. There are 10 power settings each of which works perfectly well. On top of the digital control panel is the LCD screen with timer capability.
To time what you’re cooking, simply input the desired setting and you’re good to go. Additionally, there is a sensor function which senses the type of food in the microwave.
It then automatically adjusts the machine for optimal results. The sensor function in this unit is one of the best in the market.
Unlike the Westinghouse microwave, the Toshiba EM131A?s light remains on even when the door is open. Instead of the annoying beep on most microwaves, you’ll find the buzzer on this unit mildly audible.
Lest we forget, the unit is noticeably quiet when it’s in use.
Microwaves have been around for more than half a century. Nonetheless, they became popular in the late 90s.
Some manufacturers who wanted to bring back the old memories put together a retro looking compact microwave. In the lines below, we shared our feelings and observations about the unit. Is it worth it?
One word describes the Nostalgia compact microwave; sublime. Of a truth, it doesn?t look as retro as we expected, but then, it performed as we expected. It is equipped with 12 pre-programmed settings for cooking a variety of food.
The power requirement for the unit is pegged at 700W, apt for your microwave cooking needs.
We appreciate the 0.7 cubic ft. of internal space, not to mention the rotating glass carousel. The rotating glass carousel helped cook the food evenly in less time as against the other microwaves we reviewed earlier.
In terms of appearance, the unit is aesthetically appealing. Red might be off for some kitchens ? it would have been better if there were more color options like black and silver/stainless.
The red color, however, is complemented by the chrome finishing on the door handle and control panel which gives it a sleek look.
To the top right corner of the unit sits the LED display. On the other hand, the push and turn dial sit on the bottom right corner of the unit, in a parallel manner to the LED display.
The turntable in the Nostalgia microwave fit an 11-dinner plate. When the machine is through with your food, it beeps thrice before going mute. We’re not sure there’s an option to mute the beep sounds.
Best Stainless Steel
The last best compact microwave we?re reviewing is the Danby Designer small microwave. With a discount of 26%, it was worth mentioning. The Danby designer microwave doesn?t have all the bells of the best models.
However, it does have a few advantages over the other units in this list.
Firstly, Danby offers this unit in three different colors ? white, black and stainless steel. In addition to it, there are a plethora of internal capacities to choose from ranging from 0.7 cubic ft. through 1.4 cubic ft.
Perhaps, if any of the other units offered these choices, we wouldn?t have added this unit to our review list.
There are 10 power levels backed by 700W of power on our test unit. It was the stainless color variant with black accents that gave it a nice finishing. You?ll also find 6 cooking preset function buttons.
The Danby microwave has a 14? wide turntable which can fit in a moderately sized lasagna. There are quite some other options to choose from while cooking.
They include defrost by weight, cook by weight, and speed defrost, not to mention, the 6 cooking preset functions.
During operation, the unit remains relatively quiet save for the fan which keeps it cool.
Anyway, the fan is only audible enough when you go close to the unit.
There’s no gainsaying that microwaves are of different types ? we already know it. So let’s go straight to the point. What are those things you should know before buying a compact microwave oven?
The first thing you should consider is your cooking needs. You can ask yourself the following questions.
There are more questions that need to be answered. Correctly determining your cooking needs will point to in the right direction. If you have larger cooking needs, then a large countertop or over the range microwave will suffice. That said, let’s see the next factor.
Compact microwaves are designed to be kept on the countertop because of their small sizes. It is, therefore, important that you take note of your countertop space as this will determine which size you’re buying. No matter how small your countertop or kitchen is, finding a place to put your compact microwave won’t be a problem.
Consider the internal capacity of the compact microwave you intend to buy. Generally, most compact microwaves have internal capacities below 1 cubic foot. However, during the course of our review, we found a model with a 1.2 cubic feet internal capacity.
The internal size of the unit can slow down your cooking or hinder it completely. This is because of the limited space for placing food items inside the unit.
While this may not be the most important factor to consider, it’s worth mentioning. A unit with 700W will do just fine. If you find any with 900W or 1000W, grab it. The more the power, the better for the microwave.
As with most appliances, the bigger the number of features, the more likely it is that the price of the unit will increase. Compact microwaves don’t have many features and their prices remain relatively affordable? some cost less than a hundred bucks and some are slightly above it. Some of the features to look out for include the following:
Child Safety Lock: The child safety lock feature is arguably one of the most important because the microwave is kept on the countertop where a younger child can easily access it. Turning on this feature will prevent any home accidents from happening.
Timer: A handy feature, if you must say. Set your cooking times while you do something else.
Mute Sound: We found out during the course of our review, that beep sounds from some microwaves can sometimes be annoying. To make matters worse, most compact microwaves we reviewed lacked an option to mute sounds save for one. If you don’t like those beeps, get a microwave that has a setting which allows you to turn off sounds.
Preset Cooking Function: As we mentioned earlier, the preset cooking function with its accompanying function keys can save you a lot of stress. Simply put your food in and press the button for that particular kind of food. The microwave then takes care of the rest. For example, if you want to popcorn, put the corn into the microwave and hit the popcorn button. In a matter of minutes, it’ll be ready.
If you’ve ever had a large microwave sitting on your countertop doing less work, you’ll appreciate the uniqueness of these small microwave ovens. They take up less space, and they handle most of your simple cooking tasks effortlessly.
Oh, not to mention that it had no downsides whatsoever.
Colin is a passionate chef by trade and a kitchen nerd on the side. Growing up in the kitchen, Colin has always had a passion for learning the absolute best way to cook a dish. He quickly realized most kitchens have duplicate cookware and small appliances and had to decide which ones were going to be the “keepers” – causing him to take a closer look at all his products.
As it turns out, small differences make a big impact on the experience. Whether it’s how hard you have to press a microwave button, to how long a cast iron skillet stays warm after you turn off the heat, these little difference changed everything.